Brands constantly collect and analyze any bits of information or data that they can about their customers. Their end goal is to keep existing customers loyal to their brand. The travel industry is no different. Hotels are constantly in the process of understanding and adapting to how customer behavior drives demand.
Travel Pulse recently wrote about once such trend. For quite some time, we’ve seen hotel chains move toward a strategy of awarding points in order to skip housekeeping. Last week, Gary Leff from View from the Wing wrote about how Hyatt was the latest chain to jump into the fray.
The Travel Pulse article threw up a few interesting nuggets of information about Millennial travel behavior. The survey initially discussed how Millennials are largely community focused and health conscious. We can see that in action in a couple of ways. Brand like Hilton have recently launched Millennial focused brand called Tru by Hilton.
Similarly, after Chase relaunched their World of Hyatt credit card last year, they added a new bonus category. You can now earn 2x points per dollar spent on health clubs and gym/fitness memberships. If you sign up for the World of Hyatt credit card, you can currently earn 50,000 Hyatt points as the sign up bonus.
The survey cited by Travel Pulse states further:
““Going green” is another popular trend in the hospitality industry as a whole, according to the report. As of 2018, 25% of all U.S. properties had received Green Certification, the gold standard for hotel sustainability. Comparably, only 16% of properties had that certification in 2016.
Linen and towel reuse programs are almost universal with 94-99% of chain hotels and 83% of independent hotels offering such programs. About two-thirds of chain properties are using some type of water savings program.”
This clearly shows that the hotel chains’ latest move is driven by consumer data. However, the next thing to examine is whether this would be a strong driver in terms of customer loyalty.
In simple terms, I define customer loyalty as a two-way street. As a customer, you provide repeated business to a particular hotel, thereby staying ‘loyal’. In return, you expect that the hotel chain meets if not exceeds your expectations during your stay in exchange for your loyalty.
This can be in the form of extra points, status recognition or additional perks and benefits. With this latest move by the major hotel chains, I’m still not sure if getting points for making a ‘green choice’ will be a driver of loyalty. Even better, will it make you switch your loyalty from one brand to another?
The Pundit’s Mantra
As a Millennial traveler myself, I largely concur to a lot of the findings in the survey. It’s our responsibility to do our best to conserve our planet and I love the idea of creating nice community spaces. However, I’m not sure about how this would make me keep or switch a hotel brand.
I’ve largely been loyal to a brand like Hilton over the last decade. In my case, the primary drivers for this loyalty have been the quality of rooms, customer service and the points earning/redemption options with co-branded credit cards. I’ve also been impressed in the way they’ve fixed things when they’ve gone wrong, in order to keep me loyal to the Hilton brand.
What do you think? Would you switch hotel chain loyalty due to a green choice? What are the top considerations that drive your loyalty for a hotel brand? Let us know in the comments section.
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